Baltimore's Maritime Mayhem Nears An End As Ship FINALLY Moves To Port

By Lisa Pelgin | Tuesday, 21 May 2024 08:30 AM
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Image Credit : Fox Business Network

The container vessel responsible for the tragic collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, known as the Dali, was successfully refloated during high tide on Monday.

Guided by a fleet of tugboats, the ship began its slow journey back to the port, marking a significant milestone in the ongoing cleanup and recovery operations.

It has been nearly two months since the Dali lost power and collided with a supporting column of the bridge. The catastrophic event resulted in the deaths of six construction workers and brought maritime traffic through Baltimore’s bustling port to a standstill.

The ship commenced its movement shortly after 6 a.m., intermittently starting and stopping before steadily retreating from the site of the collapse. The Dali had been grounded at the site since the disaster on March 26.

The ship's damaged bow, still adorned with remnants of the bridge’s steel trusses and mangled concrete from the collapsed roadway, bore witness to the severity of the incident.

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The removal of the massive cargo ship from the entrance of Baltimore’s harbor has created a noticeable void in the city’s skyline. The altered waterscape underscores the progress made in the cleanup effort, with crews having already extracted hundreds of tons of twisted steel previously visible above the water’s surface.

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In recent weeks, the bodies of all six construction workers, Latino immigrants who sought job opportunities in the U.S., were recovered from the underwater wreckage. The victims were engaged in an overnight shift, filling potholes when the bridge was obliterated.

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Officials have stated that the Dali will travel at a speed of approximately 1 mph on its roughly 2.5-mile journey back to the port. This is a stark contrast to the speed at which it was moving when it lost power and caused the bridge to collapse.

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The ship is anticipated to remain in the port for several weeks for temporary repairs before being relocated to a shipyard for more extensive restoration. It will return to the same marine terminal it occupied prior to embarking on its ill-fated voyage.

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Preparations to refloat the ship began approximately 18 hours before it started moving on Monday morning. This process involved releasing anchors and pumping out over 1 million gallons of water that had been keeping the ship grounded and stable during intricate cleanup operations. On May 13, crews conducted a controlled demolition to dismantle the largest remaining span of the collapsed bridge, which was draped across the Dali’s bow.

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Dive teams also completed inspections of the site to ensure there were no obstructions that would impede the voyage.

According to a preliminary report released last week by the National Transportation Safety Board, the Dali experienced two electrical blackouts about 10 hours prior to departing the Port of Baltimore for Sri Lanka. In response to these issues, the crew altered the ship’s electrical configuration, switching to a transformer and breaker system that had been unused for several months.

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The Dali experienced two more blackouts as it neared the Key Bridge, causing it to lose propulsion and veer off course at the most inopportune moment.

The two tugboats that had assisted the Dali out of the port had peeled off after it entered the main shipping channel. This was standard protocol, according to the report, but when the power went out, the tugs were too distant to help prevent the disaster.

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The FBI has initiated a criminal investigation into the circumstances leading up to the crash.

The ship’s crew members, 20 from India and one from Sri Lanka, have been confined to the vessel since the disaster. Officials stated that they have been occupied with maintaining the ship and assisting investigators. They will be permitted to disembark once the Dali is docked in Baltimore.

Officials aim to reopen the port’s 50-foot deep draft channel by the end of May. In the meantime, a temporary, slightly shallower channel has been established.

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